Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on August 1st, 2019

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Packaging Machinery Buyer's Guide: Used Versus Refurbished

Equipment | Plant Performance | Investment

Whether you are buying your very first packaging machine or getting ready to replace an old piece of equipment, opting for a used or refurbished machine can save you big bucks. That is, if done correctly. When deciding on purchasing a new machine versus a refurbished one, what questions should you ask yourself? What are the pros and cons of each option? Who should you buy used or refurbished machinery from? These are only a few of the important questions we will be reviewing below.


Why Choose Used Or Refurbished Packaging Machinery Over New?


One thing thing about packaging machinery that is universally true is that it is expensive. It is a major investment. That is especially true when buying multiple machines for a first time packaging line or upgrading outdated equipment on a long established one.


When considering the purchase of new packaging equipment, you must also take other variables into consideration. For example, what is the cost of parts and repairs for your machine? How about the cost of a preventative maintenance program? How long will you be running your machines, one day per week or 24/7?


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All of these dynamics play into the purchase of a packaging machine and when it comes down to it, buying new is not always the best decision. Purchasing used or refurbished equipment comes with their own risks of course. However, when done properly with some education on the topic, the savvy buyer can get a quality machine while paying a fraction of the cost of a new piece of equipment.


When thinking about purchasing a used or refurbished packaging machine, there are several things you need to take into consideration...


  •  Age of the machine
  •  Condition of the machine
  •  Cost of the machine
  •  Parts availability
  •  Serviceability
  •  Physical limitations


With these dynamics in mind, we will dissect the pros and cons of used machinery versus that of refurbished equipment. When all considerations above are properly researched, you will be armed with the information and wisdom needed to proceed with a purchase of either type of machinery.


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Refurbished Packaging Machinery


In the space between brand spanking new equipment and used packaging machinery, there is the option of refurbished packaging equipment. In a way, refurbished equipment makes for the best of both worlds. You get a new (to you) piece of equipment that has been tuned up and/or repaired with new or aftermarket parts. With a refurbished machine, you know that it will run after you install it.


When buying refurbished, you will likely be getting a model that is one or two generations behind the newest technology. Parts availability should present you little to no problems and getting the machines serviced should be relatively easy.


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The price for a refurbished machine will most often be higher than that of a used machine that is being sold as is. That being said, a keen and diligent shopper may be able to find a used machine with low mileage and little wear and tear, but that is atypical.


With a freshly refurbished unit, you can expect less downtime than with a used machine that has had no service or repair work done prior to getting it onto you packaging line. That being said, you can also expect a higher price tag when buying a machine that has had an assessment and service and repairs done prior to purchase.


Pros Of Buying Refurbished Packaging Machinery


  •  Has been assessed and repaired 
  •  Likely only one or two generations behind new tech
  •  Parts easily acquired
  • Possibility it may carry a short term warranty


Cons Of Buying Refurbished Packaging Machinery


  •  Higher cost than used equipment
  •  Longer downtime in production when machine is serviced
  •  More costly than repairing your current machine


Used Packaging Machinery


There is a lot opportunity to save a lot of money when choosing to purchase used equipment over new or refurbished machinery. Whether it is an off lease machine purchased via auction or bought directly from the previous owner, there are significant cost savings to be had.


With that in mind, there are some risks associated with buying a used machine. First and foremost, you don't really know if the machine needs service, repair or replacement parts aside from an honor system handshake and confirmation from the previous owner (if that is even available). When buying from an auction you purchase the machine "as is" whatever that entails...


So, when it comes to purchasing used equipment, it is usually a gamble. The payoff can be a decent machine with little to no repairs or parts replacement needed. Or, you could end up with a lemon and a money pit...


To say that one should do their homework prior to buying a used machine is perhaps the understatement of the year. Doing research on the make, model and year of the machine you are considering is paramount.


Finding the machine's serial number and researching the equipment based on that information is highly recommended. Calling vendors and making a mock request for parts availability, serviceability and common issues to gauge the headaches or lack-there-of associated with a used machine is highly important information to garner.


Pros Of Buying Used Packaging Machinery


  •  Less expensive than new
  •  Less expensive than refurbished
  •  Easy to acquire


Cons Of Buying Used Packaging Machinery


  •  May require costly parts and repairs
  •  May not fit expected applications of your packaging line
  •  May require refurbishment to run properly




Unless you are a gambler, purchasing used equipment may not be the best choice when it comes to savvy buying practices. While you most certainly can purchase a used machine for a fraction of the price of a new or refurbished piece of equipment, you run the risk of landing a lemon.


Even with the the appropriate precautions, self education and research, you can't be sure of the quality of a used machine. Until you get a used machine on your packaging line, you really do not know what you got yourself into.


Your best bet is to either buy a refurbished or a brand new packaging machine. When all is said and done, you can rest assured that you will have the right equipment for the job. You can also rest assured that you have a machine that will run after you install it on your packaging line.


Coupled with a robust preventive maintenance plan, a refurbished machine will provide you with significant cost savings over new equipment while also meeting the demands of your packaging line.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.